We Stopped Telling Stories

Or maybe we never really told them to begin with.

A while ago, I discovered Librarything and with it, made friends with a number of like minded bibliophiles. One such cyber-accquaintence commented, rather sardonically, that I read “too much fiction to be an orthodox Church of Christer.” I laughed when I read this comment because the underlying idea – that those in Churches of Christ, don’t read fiction – is something of which I’m acutely aware.

Before leaving that denomination sometime ago, I was treated to sermon in which the speaker wondered aloud why anyone wasted time reading fiction. In his mind, if a story is fiction it is not true.

Besides a distrust of fiction, it was also my experience that even the stories of the Bible, taken for granted as true, are considered the domain of children. Of course, this sentiment is implied, not spoken.

I purpose: that such thinking is small; that there is often more truth in a well written novel than in a history or science textbook; that the power of Scripture lies not in an inconsistent and convoluted hermeneutic (like CENI) but in living within the experience of the story of the People of God; and finally, that if Churches of Christ are to survive into the next century (and whether or not they should is an interesting debate altogether, but for another time) then they must begin retelling their story and re-reading the Bible in a way that honors the stories therein.

Incidentally, I’m not sure that the CoC can do those things and still be the CoC, but again, that’s for another time. In the meantime, read a good book or the Good Book, and look for more posts on this topic in the coming weeks.


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